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Red Wings can clinch against Rangers

Regulation or overtime win will give Detroit 25th straight playoff berth

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealenhl / Staff Writer

RED WINGS (41-29-11) at RANGERS (45-27-9)

TV: 12:30 p.m. ET; FS-D, MSG, NHL.TV

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings won 3-2 against the New York Rangers when Darren Helm scored with 1:57 left in overtime at Joe Louis Arena on March 12. Brad Richards tied the game for the Red Wings with 31.8 seconds left in regulation. The Rangers won 1-0 on Feb. 21 when Kevin Klein scored 1:59 into overtime at Madison Square Garden. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves.

Red Wings team scope: If the Red Wings win in regulation or overtime, they clinch a 25th straight berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and third place in the Atlantic Division, and will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round. Forward Justin Abdelkader sustained a lower-body injury in the third period of a 5-2 loss at the Boston Bruins on Thursday and is questionable. Center Joakim Andersson was recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League as insurance. Andersson, 27, has one goal and three points in 28 games with the Red Wings this season. Detroit conducted an optional skate at Prudential Center in Newark on Friday. Forwards Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasious, Tomas Jurco, and Teemu Pulkkinen, defensemen Danny Dekeyser, Alexey Marchenko and Brendan Smith and goaltenders Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek participated. Howard, who has won four of his past six games, will start, according to the Detroit Free Press. "We put ourselves in a position by winning a game [against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday] to control our own destiny," coach Jeff Blashill said. "So let's go win a hockey game on Saturday."

Rangers team scope: The Rangers will be without forwards Mats Zuccarello and Viktor Stalberg, who each sustained a lower-body injury, as well as defensemen Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, who each sustained an upper-body injury. McDonagh and Girardi did not play in a 4-1 loss against the New York Islanders on Thursday. Zuccarello, Stalberg and Girardi should be fine for the start of the playoffs, coach Alain Vigneault said after practice Friday. The Islanders, who clinched a playoff berth, are in third place in the Metropolitan Division, tied with the Rangers in points. The Islanders have two games remaining and the Rangers one, with the Rangers holding the non-shootout wins tiebreaker. The third-place finisher will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference First Round. The team that drops into the first wild card from the Eastern Conference will play the Florida Panthers in the first round. Goaltender Antti Raanta will start. He has won each of his past three starts with a 1.67 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. Raanta relieved Lundqvist in the third period against the Islanders and stopped all six shots he faced. "I just thought at that time, 3-0, I thought it might spark our team a little bit," Vigneault said. "I talked briefly with [Lundqvist] a little bit between the second and third. It probably wasn't worth risking it at that point and that's why I made the change." Forward Oscar Lindberg will return to the lineup, and the Rangers likely will recall a player from Hartford of the American Hockey League.

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